Fast start for Bennett

Newsmakers with Jerry Roberts:

Fast Start for Bennett. We won’t know for sure how the seven wannabes are faring in the money chase for the wide-open 37th Assembly District race until next month, when the first full state campaign finance filings are due, but some hot-off-the-printer documents just submitted to the Secretary of State show Steve Bennett is off to a fast start. The former longtime Ventura County supervisor, who jumped into the contest at the last minute, reported raising $69,600 in contributions of $1,000 or more in just the first week of his campaign. Most of the money is from private individuals, described by his campaign as “mainly Ventura County environmental leaders and activists” who backed his previous campaigns. State law requires candidates to report large contributions within 24 hours of their receipt during the 90 days immediately preceding an election; with the election set for March 3, legislative candidates were required to report such donations starting Dec. 3. The only other contender with a significant big-ticket cash collection list reported this month is SB Mayor Cathy Murillo, who brought in $23,500 mostly from union groups, including $9,300 from the California State Council of Labor PAC, $2,500 from the Labor Institute and $2K from the Plumbers and Steamfitters International.

This Week’s Power Ratings. A completely subjective ranking of the 37th District Assembly candidates, accounting for up-to-date developments. The margin of error is plus or minus 100 percent.
1-Steve Bennett. Early burst of cash provides table stakes, as arrival of consultant Steve Barkan provides veteran political management.2-Cathy Murillo. Labor runs Sacto, labor wants Mayor Cathy.3-Jonathan Abboud. IV’s Favorite Son tells Santa Maria paper he’s already raised $70K in Bernie-style small donations.4-Elsa Granados. Twin endorsements from feminist groups should help with fundraising.5-Jason Dominguez. Could use a financial angel, but credit him for hanging in on tough city council issues with one foot out the door. 6-Charles Cole. Making life hard for reporters trying to cover you always a bad look for a candidate. 7-Steve Blum. SM Sun says he said he’ll raise less than $10K and doesn’t much expect to win.


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